THE continued rainfall across the region is causing a number of problems for livestock.
The wet June, when the average monthly rainfall fell in just a couple of days, has left thousands of sheep unshorn and potential health problems for livestock across the board.
John Macfarlane, of the Alnwick-based Alnorthumbria Veterinary Group, said: “The weather has resulted in a resurgence in worm problems which are causing a serious problem, especially in lambs.
“The wet weather has a concertina effect – the farmers need dry weather for clipping the sheep and the combination of a full fleece, worm problems and warm weather is leading to fly strike. This is compounded by a noticeable increase in resistance to worm treatments being found on a number of farms.”
There are also concerns that the long-term wet weather may lead to rumen fluke in cattle. It is a parasite ingested by the cattle grazing on previously waterlogged pastures and there is a likelihood of increased infection in areas prone to flooding.
Alnorthumbria Vets identified the parasite at one client’s farm earlier this year and is now researching the issue in collaboration with Edinburgh Veterinary School and Morden Institute. The results are expected later this year.
Mr Macfarlane said: “The presenting signs are scour in late summer in young stock and we will be asking clients if we can check for this disease on their farms – this is an exotic disease that is found sporadically around the United Kingdom.”
The weather is also posing a number of challenges for grassland management.
“Though last winter was kind to us until the beginning of lambing, and the grass has been growing, grazing conditions are proving very difficult,” Mr Macfarlane said.
“We can only hope that the weather through June and August sees some more sunshine hours and that the animal health problems being seen in the last few weeks decline.”